Green Bay Packers RB Aaron Jones Has Joined Some Elite Company

 

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones quietly joined some elite company last Sunday during the Packers 28-19 win over the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Although a shin injury limited Jones to just 26 yards rushing on nine carries, it was enough to make the former UTEP star only the fourth player in franchise history to gain more than 5,000 yards rushing in a Packers uniform. The only other players to accomplish that are franchise rushing leader Ahman Green, Hall of Famer Jim Taylor and John Brockington who was the first player in NFL history to gain more than 1,000 yards in each of his first three NFL seasons.

Jones has been remarkably productive since the Packers drafted him in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. The lowest average yards per rush he’s had in his six NFL seasons is a healthy 4.6. He has averaged 5.1-yards each time he carries the football for his career. Jones has topped 1,000 yards in a season twice and needs just 153 yards in the final four games of this season to reach that milestone for a third time.

But Jones can do more than just run with the football. He is also a dangerous receiver. He already has 48 catches this year on just 58 targets. He needs just five catches over the final four contests to match his previous career high which he set just a season ago.

Aaron Rodgers may have won four NFL MVP Awards and Christian Watson may be the most explosive player on the Packers roster, but the engine that makes the Packers offense run most efficiently wears number 33 in green and gold. Jones has the speed and elusiveness to be a threat to score a touchdown any time he touches the football.   

Jones is also very involved in charity and community work. Earlier this week, the NFL announced that Jones was the Packers nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award which the league gives to recognize “the NFL’s commitment to philanthropy and community impact” and serves to recognize “an NFL player for outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on the field.” This is the second consecutive season Jones has been the Packers nominee for this prestigious award.

Jones’ quarterback fully appreciates what his number one running back brings to the table. “Every time that there is an L, any type of adversity, there is always going to be narratives that come out of it. Easy one for us is we’ve got to get the ball to 33 more,” Rodgers said in October. “I mean, it’s true. When he touches the ball, good things happen. He breaks tackles, he’s probably our most elusive guy with the football in his hands.”

When the Packers resume play after the bye against the Los Angeles Rams, Jones has a good chance of reaching another Packers franchise milestone. He needs just 15 yards to pass Brockington for third place on the Packers all-time rushing list.

Packers GM Brian Gutekunst has a tough decision to make about Jones this offseason. According to spotrac.com, the Packers star running back has a cap hit of a little more than $20 million in 2023 and $16 million in 2024. With Rodgers set to have a cap hit of roughly $60 million next season, Gutekunst and Russ Ball will have to figure out a way to rework Jones’ contract to allow him to stay in Green Bay.

Jones is a special kind of talent who is an excellent fit in Matt LaFleur’s offense. When the Packers get the ball to Jones, good things tend to happen and the offense is more productive.

“I think our guys hold him in high regard not only for his play on the field but for who he is as a man, as a teammate, as a dad, as a brother, as a son,” LaFleur said. “He is first class all the way, and he’s contributed big time to our success.”

Kicker Mason Crosby also sees the importance of Jones to the team. “I think it’s maybe under-talked about, not underrated,” Crosby said. “What he does on a week-in and week-out basis is always noticed around here. But maybe it’s just because of how he is. He just goes about his work and doesn’t look for much attention. That’s just who he is. But I would never call him underrated for sure because of the numbers and what he means to this team.”

Now the question is will Gutekunst find a way to keep Jones in Green Bay beyond the end of this season. Somehow, the answer must be yes.

You can follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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6 points

Comments (15)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Johnblood27's picture

December 08, 2022 at 11:22 am

Aaron Jones is my favorite player on this GB Packer team.

I sure hope that they find a way to keep him in GB.

GB needs Aaron Jones, the man, as a cornerstone in the rebuild that is coming. His integrity and character are very difficult to replace with young draftees or recycled free agents.

9 points
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PackyCheese500's picture

December 08, 2022 at 11:42 am

I agree that the rebuild is coming, but unfortunately, I don't know if he will be part of it. He has a huge cap hit in 2023, and he's also 28. After 28 or so, RBs tend to decline.

As much as I admire Jones, for these reasons, I don't see how he could feasibly stay.

5 points
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BirdDogUni's picture

December 09, 2022 at 08:44 am

My hope is they find a way to trade him to a contender. We probably aren't going to vie for a Championship realistically for 2 or 3 years. By then, Aaron Jones may be retired. I'd love for AJ to go to the Bengals, Buffalo, or KC...

Would love to see him finish his career with a chance for a ring.

0 points
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T7Steve's picture

December 08, 2022 at 12:17 pm

Like Gill says, the only way they can keep him is to extend him. Void years at the end? Signing bonuses are part of the cap problem now so I don't know how else.

Love (pun intended for how much he'd help Love) to see him finish his career in GB.

3 points
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Leatherhead's picture

December 08, 2022 at 12:34 pm

He's $16 million in salary and roster bonuses next year.

As much as I like Jones and what he brings, I'd draft a replacement and use the $16 million elsewhere. Jones has 59 career TDs, he could finish this season with 62 or so. If you score over 80 TDs in the NFL, you're in HOF territory, and if you score 90, you've got a real good shot at going to Canton.

Two good seasons after this year would put Jones there. That's what we'd be giving up if we trade him after the season. And for Jones' part, he could renegotiate his contract down if he really wanted to stay on the team and try to get to 75 TDs in 2023.

6 points
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T7Steve's picture

December 08, 2022 at 12:53 pm

Seems like he'd be the type, like Cobb, to try to stick around and finish here. I don't think Cobb had as many options as Jones will though. He'd probably end in the NFC North somewhere which is my worst nightmare.

2 points
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PackyCheese500's picture

December 08, 2022 at 01:09 pm

Not if they trade Jones away. He probably has at least one good year left in the tank, and the Dolphins could be interested in landing a good RB.

4 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

December 08, 2022 at 01:30 pm

Trade is most likely. They have to consider his availability. He's taken a lot of big hits.

3 points
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TXCHEESE's picture

December 08, 2022 at 12:53 pm

Pound for pound, he and Frank Gore are the two toughest runners I have ever watched...including Emmitt Smith and Sweetness. Jones looks like a human pinball, just bouncing and twisting for every yard. Hope the Packers find a way to keep him.

4 points
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beautiful_mystery's picture

December 08, 2022 at 01:08 pm

Yes, his character and talent I admire and appreciate. I will cheer for him wherever he ends up (sure hope he stays).

We need a looong drive to win. Put aaron the tires and check the dipstick...

Run to where they ain't....go, go, gooo

-1 points
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Kevin Carpenter's picture

December 08, 2022 at 01:10 pm

The fact that he's done it in 6 years is nothing short of amazing, either. Especially considering he was a 5th round pick.

5 points
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croatpackfan's picture

December 08, 2022 at 02:09 pm

While I would like Packers to keep Aaron Jones that might not be possible related to cap. Because of that I would like to see what Packers has in Tyler Goodson, RB from PS.

1 points
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Since'61's picture

December 08, 2022 at 02:56 pm

Trade Rodgers, Chuck Lowry, Crosby retires, maybe Bak retires also, let Amos and Savage go to FA. Those moves should open up enough cap space to enable the Packers to keep Jones and take handoffs from Love plus leave enough to sign a vet FA or two. It's time to not only move on but also time to make better, strategic personnel decisions. Thanks, Since '61

5 points
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TXCHEESE's picture

December 08, 2022 at 04:30 pm

Amen 61!

1 points
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coolhand's picture

December 09, 2022 at 11:27 am

The Packers should have traded Rodgers this year and started the rebuild. I sure hope they can keep Jones for the next 2 years, he IS the engine that drives this offense now.

0 points
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